All their neighbors accepted the compensation offered by the local government to leave their homes allowing for the construction of the four-lane highway to proceed. However, Luo Baogen (67) and his wife consider insufficient the CNY 260,000 (Renminbi YuĆ”n; approx. US$ 41,000) offered by the authorities for the expropriation. The Luos reject the offer because they feel their 5-story house, built in 2001, has a value of at least CNY 800,000 (approx. US$ 128,000), reports Shanghai Daily
During the negotiation period, the construction of the highway with two lanes each way has not stopped. The road will connect Xiazhangyang village, where the Luos live, to a newly built railway station on the outskirts of Wenling. Given the refusal of the owners, the Wenling government decided to proceed with the plans, except that it is building a small, temporary detour around the house. That leaves the house right in the middle of the highway
Luo has been battling the local government since 2008. He insists that as long as the authorities refuse to pay an adequate compensation for demolishing his house, he and his wife will remain in the dwelling.
"I still owe money for building the house. I cannot afford to buy a resettlement apartment. I will move if the government gives me a same-size house with similar furnishings",
said Luo according to Shanghai Daily.
Lin Xufang, a Wenling government spokesperson, said Luo's demand is beyond the compensation level, at a rate per square meter, given to other property owners who have already moved out. Lin says that paying Luo a higher rate would be unfair to those already relocated, therefore Luo's demand cannot be met.
The options of the local government are limited since in 2007 the Chinese Government published the country's landmark property law
establishing that the government, property developers, and house owners are all equal, and they should resolve disputes through negotiations.
Luo has vowed to pursue negotiations until the government agrees to provide what he sees as fair compensation. The Luos still have basic services, water and electricity in their house, but as the highway construction progresses they are becoming concerned about the traffic:
"My only worry (of living here) is the traffic. There is a safety concern,"